Circumbinary Planetary Systems

Shown here are 180 planets orbiting a binary star system. The yellow blobs in the center are the two stars. By default, their total mass is equal to the mass of our Sun. The smaller blobs are the 180 planets. They all have zero mass. Hence, they don't interact with each other. The one that is furthest out is 1au from the system's center of mass. Even though it has mass zero, we can think of it as representing Earth. The other planets are evenly spaced ranging from 0.3au to 0.9au. As you can see when the animation starts, the planets that are close to the center of mass have unstable orbits. The planet at radius 0.45256au is in a stable orbit as are all the planets that are further out. You can speed up the animation by entering a larger number in the "Redraw dt" text box. Changing the value from its default of 1e-3 to 1.0 makes the whole thing go 1000 times faster.
Updated 2024 Feb 18